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Volunteers Enrich Lives

Image of two male seniors planting at a table.Volunteering in a nursing home can be a very rewarding experience. The giving of your time, talent and skills can truly make a difference in the lives of nursing home residents.

Nursing Home Volunteering

You can volunteer in a nursing home for a variety of tasks. Volunteer opportunities in nursing homes may include:

  • Friendly visiting with resident
  • Helping staff with activity programs
  • Raising funds for resident activities
  • Writing a newsletter for patients and/or families
  • Reading to residents
  • Offering your special talents (i.e. singing, playing a musical instrument, cooking demonstrations, talks on specific topics, etc.)

Simply call or visit the nursing home of your choice to learn about their specific volunteer programs.

Ombudsman Volunteering

The Ombudsman Program is part of the local Area Agency on Aging. Program volunteers are trained to act as advocates to ensure that all nursing home residents receive appropriate care. To carry out this mission, Ombudsman volunteers:

  • Visit the nursing home regularly to provide residents access to the Ombudsman Program
  • Promote awareness of residents' rights
  • Identify underlying problems that lead to complaints made by or on behalf of residents
  • Help residents and families understand the rules and regulations under which nursing homes operate
  • Encourage residents and families to utilize the internal grievance procedures within the facilities
  • Assist in resolving complaints
  • Maintain records of contacts with residents
  • Notify the Ombudsman office immediately about abuse complaints and any unresolved complaints

Ombudsman volunteers must be 21 years of age or older, able to spend two to four hours a week in a nursing home of their choice and make a six-month service commitment. Ombudsman volunteers receive extensive training to help protect the rights of nursing home residents and to aid residents in resolving problems.

Volunteer Ombudsmen work with residents, families, and staff of nursing homes to enhance the quality of life and care received by residents. Contact your local Maryland Access Point (MAP) Program for information about becoming a volunteer ombudsman. There is also information available about volunteer opportunities in other settings.